Every morning, I log on to read my spam. First I read the subject lines of the spam in my email, which sometimes read like a haiku. A selection from this morning: “Cataclasis/finally a little justice.” I’ve been getting a surprising amount of spam in my Gmail lately, all of which seems to be getting caught and dropped in the spam box, but it still intrigues me. Someone somewhere got my email address apparently, because I have a determined line of sales pitches for watches, Viagra, and…I don’t even know what. I don’t wear a watch, I don’t have a penis, and I don’t think I need any more je ne sais quoi in my life, you know? I’m reminded of a vindictive friend in high school who would submit the email addresses of her enemies to tons of newsletters and so forth, in the hopes of deluging them in spam.
Then I pop over to my comment management interface to see which spam has slipped through the filter. I actually have a fairly good spam filter, but every now and then it apparently doesn’t catch something, which is especially surprising when it contains words like “Cialis” or “mature vagina.” I’ve noticed that I seem to be getting more spam now that Movable Type 4.0 is out, and I’m wondering if it’s a subtle ploy by SixApart to get me to install 4.0.
I have to say, I’m pretty unimpressed by comment spam. It’s always instantly recognizable; I don’t even need to click on the comment to read the whole thing, because I already know that it’s spam. You’d think that comment spammers could use some imagination, since the whole point is to slip the comment past the webmaster. Correct spelling and grammar would be a start, as would the pretense of a comment. At least enough to make the snippet which appears in a management interface look genuine. Like “The issues discussed in this post lead me to consider…” or something.
And it’s especially weak when the spammer doesn’t even include a link, just a string of nonsense words or garble. I’m not exactly sure that this is supposed to accomplish; perhaps someone could enlighten me?
Obviously comment spam is working for someone, somewhere, because I get a lot of comment spam, and I imagine that other people do as well. I have, in fact, thousands of spam comments in my junk folder, which is pretty impressive. It profoundly skews the ratio between real and fake comments, that’s for sure. I do wish that there was more aggressive action that could be taken, since spam drives me totally batty. I can see why spammers get hunted down and murdered, I really can. And if spam irritates me, I can’t imagine how annoying it is for webmasters who handle sites that are actually popular and heavily trafficked.
Not that I am advocating mass murder of spammers, but it would be pretty awesome if I could somehow charge a spammer for every spam email/comment I have to deal with. After all, they’re eating up my bandwidth and server space with their spam. Surely I should be able to levy a fee. I know that a couple of attempts have been made to somehow legislate spam, and as far as I can see, none of them are working, because spam just keeps proliferating, like kudzu.
I wonder what percentage of the Internet is actually just pure spam?